business news in context, analysis with attitude

This week, announced that it had created a new application that would allow Kindle owners to synch up their electronic books with their iPods…essentially giving them access to literature in two different places and formats for the same price. Remarkably, within a couple of hours of this announcement being made, I had more than a dozen emails from MNB users advising me of this new development and suggesting that – since I own both an iPhone and a Kindle, and am enthusiastic, to say the least, about both technological tools – I might want to test this new service.

You know me well.

As soon as I could, I downloaded the application to my iPod and it wirelessly gave me access to the 20 or so books that I have on my Kindle. The screen is small, but the font is adjustable…it might not be the best way to read a long book for an extended period of time, but it struck me as perfect for when I have unexpected time on my hands and have neither my Kindle or even my iPod to rely upon.

The night after I downloaded the application, I found myself in Burlington, Vermont, having dinner by myself…and it was wonderful to have access to my books even though I’d left the Kindle in my hotel room. That’s when technology is great, I think … when it has a purpose, when it awakens needs or desires you didn’t even know you had, and when you start to wonder how you ever survived without it.


Speaking of that dinner…

I was eating at Leunig’s, a wonderful French bistro in downtown Burlington, where I enjoyed the most amazing jalapeno glazed scallops served with slices of blood orange and a crispy saffron, black bean and sweet corn risotto cake and sautéed baby spinach. It was melt in your mouth good, and I washed it down with a couple of glasses of 2006 Marchesi di Barolo Barbera d’Alba “Ruvei” from Italy…which was somehow both delicate and intense and perfectly complimented the scallops.

So there I was in a French bistro, eating scallops and drinking good wine, a listening to a couple of musicians play standards from the forties while I read chapters in Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms” that actually take place in Paris. It was sort of a surreal evening that could have been happening in another place and at another time…except that I was reading the book on my iPhone.

It’s a good life.

We all hear about the politicians and elected officials who seem to be tone-deaf to what is going on around them, except when they are able to manipulate it to their own advantage.

So it was nice to read in the Irish papers this week that there actually are five members of the Irish Senate who have volunteered to take pay cuts as a way of saving the government money and demonstrating solidarity with the population at large at a time of real financial difficulties in that nation.

There also, according to reports, is one Senator who has declined his salary completely, saying the funds could be better used to serve the public interest.

That Senator, as it happens, is Feargal Quinn, founder of Ireland’s legendary Superquinn supermarket chain … and a man who has made a career not only out of not being tone deaf, but of being carefully tuned into what the customers (and now, the citizens) are saying and thinking.

Good for him.

MSNBC reported the other day about a new study saying that “caffeine helps kill off human cells damaged by ultraviolet light, one of the key triggers of several types of skin cancer.”

According to the story, “Several studies have shown that people who regularly drink coffee or tea seem to have lower incidences of nonmelanoma skin cancers,” an some people are suggesting that topical, caffeine-based skin creams could be the next rage.

Which sounds like a potential line extension idea for Starbucks.

Or maybe for White Could Coffee, which makes the excellent “Attitude Blend,” which we’ve christened the “official coffee of MorningNewsBeat.”

Though I’m not sure I could get anyone to rub MorningNewsBeat coffee cream all over their bodies. Not even Mrs. Content Guy.

A new study from the National Sleep Foundation says that 27 percent of Americans are losing sleep because of financial worries, and that the number of people getting lousy sleep has almost doubled in just eight years.

It’s almost certainly true that current economic worries are contributing to the sleepless nights. But I suspect there is another culprit – blogging.

It really has been the last eight or nine years that blogging has become popular, which coincides with the decline in quality sleep in the US.

Coincidence? I think not.

I’d be more sure about this, but I only got four and a half hours of sleep last night and five the night before, and it is hard to be sure of anything at this point.

Except, of course, that mainlining “Attitude Blend” is my first, best option.

“Night and Day,” the new Jesse Stone novel by Robert B. Parker, is typical of the author’s work…it is a fast and enjoyable read, with language that has a somewhat musical quality and punchy, character-driven dialogue filled with irony. I liked it a lot, as I usually do his books.

And it was nice to read it the same weekend that “Jesse Stone: Thin Ice,” appeared on CBS…the fifth TV movie featuring Tom Selleck as Stone, the chief of police in mythical Paradise, Massachusetts.

The only problem is that we’ll have to wait months or maybe a year for the next installments. (At least there will be another western and a Spenser novel published by Parker this year.)

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.

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